Earlier this week my brother in law Nick wrote an awesome post about how music was back in his day. It doesn’t seem like that long ago we were all rockin’ giant Walkman tape players, but as we push towards 30 (30?!?), we realize how retro we really are.
As this post got me thinking about how things were back in the day, I thought I would write a companion piece about clothing trends from my youth. Everybody ready to relive some horrible fashion? Let’s go!
Trend # 1 – Jelly shoes:
When I was a little kid, I had a pair of these. I think they were purple. I’m not sure why people thought that footwear made of traction-less, transparent plastic was a good thing but they were all the rage when I was about 5. Hey, everybody! Check it out! You can see my dirty feet through my shoes! The marvels of science!
Trend #2 – Snap bracelets:
Remember snap bracelets? They were flexible pieces of steel covered in some sort of cheap fabric that, when you slapped it against your arm, would curl around into something resembling a bracelet shape. I remember spending my entire allowance on a giant roll of snap bracelets when I was in the second grade. I had them in all sorts of bright colours AND I had a sparkly gold one. You know, for fancy/classy occasions. They ended up getting banned but their snapping was pretty much the soundtrack to 1989.
Trend #3 – Neon colours on freaking everything:
It seemed like when 1990 hit, as a way of showing we were somehow moving into a new and futuristic era, neon colours were slapped onto everything. Hot damn, we were blindly ugly back then.
Trend #4 – Wearing T-shirts so big you couldn’t see your shorts underneath them:
My friend Snuffy did this more than I did, but I do remember stealing some horrible cotton candy pink shirt with fish on it from my mom’s closet and belting it like it was a dress. Oh, mini-Girl, why?
Trend #5 – Hyper-color shirts:
A shirt that changed colour when heated up! I wanted one of these when I was a kid so badly but my mom wouldn’t let me get one. And as a 27-year-old woman, I sincerely thank my mom for this. I mean seriously, why do you want to pointout you have pit stains in vibrant tie-dye?
Trend #6 – Biker Shorts (when not riding a bike)/Leggings as pants:
There’s never been an easier way and more convenient way to show off your VPL (visible panty line). I remember my friend Jenny had a black pair with a neon pink stripe down the side and we both thought they were quite fetching.
Trend #7 – Hot pants under skirts:
While the concept of wearing mini shorts under your skirt makes sense, it’s also hella ugly. I actually remember wearing a dress that had hotpants sewn into it if you can believe it. The dress was checkered black and white and the hot pants were bright pink with lace trim.
Trend # 8 – LA Gear sneakers:
I had two pairs of these. The first pair was white with peach and mint green laces (for some reason, it was better to have more than one pair of laces in your shoes at the time) and the second pair were made of . . . wait for it . . . purple suede. I remember thinking they were supercool because they came with little license plates. Ugh.
Trend #9 – Baby doll dresses (usually of the floral or plaid variety):
Even though I did not watch the show when it was originally on air, I blame My So Called Life for this.
Trend #10 – The giant Blossom hats:
Mayim Bialik, I shake my fist at you for making me think this looked cool! I had two different hats. One was dark purple and I pinned the brim up with a pin I got from Northern Reflections and the other was black velvet and had a rose covered in fake plastic dew on it. I thought the dew was soulful looking. *snort*
Trend #11 – Bodysuits:
They were basically the adult sized equivalent of a onesie, complete with crotch snaps. Yikes.
Trend #12 – Knee high stockings:
I think the influence for this was part Catholic School Girl and part the movie Clueless. I think I tried it once before realizing that it was not a trend that suited the skinny and knock-kneed.
Trend #13 – No Fear Shirts:
I never owned one of these but they are exactly what they sound like – shirts that said No Fear on them in a scratchy looking font. I think almost everyone in my 8th grade class had one.
Trend #14 – Vests:
I had a ridiculous number of vests in my wardrobe when I was like 13. I remember I had one that I spilled Wite Out on once and it broke my heart. Little did I know, the fashion gods were doing me a favour.
Trend #15 – Gigantic pants:
There are still people who wear large pants, but they don’t seem to be wearing them as epically large as they used to. When I was in middle school, I remember there was an announcement on the PA for anyone who had trouble navigating the stairs due to the size of their pants to report to the office immediately. I’m not sure whether or not they were trying to smoke out the big pants people or help them, but either way, it was kind of sad. I owned a pair of $80 Silver Tab wide legs when I was 15, but they were never so big I couldn’t move in them.
Trend #16 – Tearaway track pants (when not playing any sort of sport):
I understood when you were playing basketball or something, but wearing tearaways when there was no purpose in tearing them away seemed weird to me, especially when they made that swishy noise while walking.
Trend #17 – Mini backpacks:
You’d basically be swaddled in miles and miles of bagstrap so that you had a place to put a chapstick and a pack of gum. Because they weren’t big enough to fit anything else.
Trend #18 – Puffy Adidas Jackets:
There was some major controversy about these jackets because there were the authentic ones which had 3 stripes and the non-authentic ones that had two. You DID NOT want to have a non-authentic.
Trend #19 – FUBU clothing:
This trend I felt was particularly weird because the acronym stands for “For Us, By Us”, the us being the Black community, but it was like the whitest dudes in my school who wore it. I remember some dude I liked in the 11th grade (who had an incredibly Irish name and skin as white as snow) walked around all the time in a shiny red FUBU jacket. I should have realized then he was a massive tool, but instead I crushed on him for a couple of more months until our semi-formal when I asked him to dance and he growled “no” at me. I ran off and cried in the women’s washroom but after maybe five minutes, I realized I could do better than a jerk like that, so I stopped, went back out to the party and asked an even cuter guy to dance. He said yes. So suck it Mean Dude* and wherever you are Cutie McNicepants, thanks for being awesome and cheering me up! 🙂
Trend #20 – Hair mascara:
This isn’t clothing but I had to include it because of it’s ridiculousness. For some reason, in the late 1990s, the idea of streaking colourful/sticky stuff through your hair was a good idea. I can’t remember why just now, but I know I had a tube of Copper colour and that it got on everything.
Now, I can’t be the only one who participated in some really ugly trends as a kid so spill it – what crazy retro styles did you wear?
*I don’t still care about this and I’m sure this dude is probably a nice enough guy now, but at the time, it was pretty rude. I think if you’re not into someone, there’s a nice way to say no. Plus, considering my attention span for boys at the time, I probably would have gotten bored with him in a couple of weeks anyway.